China / Innovation

Tomorrow's entrepreneurs

(China Daily) Updated: 2015-04-27 07:14

Tomorrow's entrepreneurs

Students are keen to have a chance to speak by raising their hands during a lecture on entrepreneurship at the Central China Normal University in Wuhan, Hubei province. [Photo/China Daily] 

Undoubtedly, Zhang is quite dedicated to this new business. As soon as he set up his own company, he gave up the habit of driving and started to take the subway to work, meaning that he has an hour every day to read more technology or management books.

The local government has been quite supportive of these young entrepreneurs. As a registered company in a business incubator for overseas returnees located in central Shanghai, he is able to rent a 100-square-meter office for 200 yuan ($32.3) every month. The local government also holds legal or intellectual property rights forums for the young entrepreneurs from time to time.

But the biggest challenge right now is rising labor costs, said Zhang. As soon as Alibaba was listed in New York, fresh university graduates applying for technology companies had come with higher salary expectations, at around 7,000 yuan per month.

"I really hope that the government will exempt newly established companies of our kind from paying some types of insurance or funds. This will lift a huge burden," he said.

His family has also been quite supportive. Part of the 500,000-yuan fee to register the company was provided by Zhang's parents.

"They can entirely understand that I would like to try something before the age of 30. If I were 35 or 40, it would be too costly to start up a company of my own. As I am still quite young at present, it would be fine if I fail and lose some money. I can pick up again one year later or go back to business school after that. As long as I am young, I can still pick up the pieces if I fail," he said.

Ever since 2013, every summer has been defined as the "most difficult season for job hunting in history" and the situation is no better this year.

The number of university graduates will reach an unprecedented 7.49 million this year. As a result, the Ministry of Education released an announcement in December last year, encouraging universities to set up flexible educational systems so that students can be allowed to suspend schooling and set up their own businesses.

The number of young people starting their own businesses upon graduation has been on the rise in recent years. Statistics provided by consultancy MyCos Data show that 2.3 percent of new university graduates in 2013 chose to set up their own businesses. The number was 2 percent in 2012 and 1.6 percent in 2011. The number of higher vocational school graduates who established their own businesses was 3.3 percent.

The trend has gained much support from the central government. Premier Li Keqiang has encouraged the entrepreneurial spirit among young people ever since he took office in 2012. After he presided over a recent executive meeting of the State Council, an official statement was released which said "China should embrace the trend of mass entrepreneurship and innovation in the Internet age".

Pete Chia, managing director of recruitment service provider BRecruit China, believes a growing number of the post-1990 generation will establish their own businesses, which can inject much vibrancy into the job market and the entire business environment.

"One of the two world's biggest Internet entrepreneurship bases is undisputedly located in the United States, while the other is now in China, which has the largest working population in the world," he said.

As Chia further explained, the trend among more of the post-1990 generation to set up their own businesses is actually being fashioned by highly experienced and discerning capital market investors.

These investors are well aware of the operations of the capital market. Therefore, the investment provided by the post-1990 generation will never be wasted.


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